THE NEW OUTBREAK IN SIBERIA SHOWS HOW WE ARE NOT PREPARED
The medical history of the world is full of deadly diseases which have been destructive for the people and which have humiliated the whole mankind. Some of them have been defeated but some of them have been only limited and put into the deep winter sleep. The challenging times we live in bring new security concerns but they also bring new health risks and we are all transforming ourselves into the victims of fear of potential outbreaks and patients of the real situations if they happen. We are all facing up with the modified bio safety concept and there where human factors are ended, the nature starts its own dreadful dance. That could be the last dance for all of us.
According to media all over, the newest outbreak worth of the deepest thoughts is definitely the one which includes almost forgotten ANTHRAX DISEASE. The vast majority of the people react the similar way on this bacillus name, relating it to the controversial bio terroristic attack back in 2001 and linking it with the weapons of mass destruction and bio warfare program. However, the Anthrax is more than that, it is a silent killer from the nature and it comes to us without any help by terrorists or isolated psychopaths.
In spite of the great debates about the climate changes, nothing serious has been made so the trend of global weather troubles could be really stopped or slowed down. The reality is even worse. The flora and fauna are suffering on daily level because of the human irresponsible policy towards the climate changes. Now, it seems that the people will finally realize that climate modification brings new problems for the civilization as itself. The hot and cold zones are replacing each other’s and the question is for how long that will pass without having big tectonic disturbances on people lives. But, it has begun, earlier than we expected, worse than the sleepless scientists warned about. It started silently in small nomadic communities in northern Siberia, when more than 72 local residents have been hospitalized under the doubt they are infected by Anthrax. The half of them are children and it is reported that one 12-year-old boy died.
The fact is that the global warm temperatures hit also the Yamal peninsula to the north of the Urals and Yamal tundra. This tundra is located above the Arctic Circle has paid a price of dealing with the hot wave up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to the average of 77 degrees. The unexpected warm temperatures which have visited this part of Siberia also have opened the book of horror for the epidemic situation. The highest degrees cause the lowest epidemic standards to keep biological ecosystem in balance. That is exactly what has happened, based on the expert’s statements. The frozen carcass of a reindeer that died in the last anthrax outbreak in 1968 has come out and made the deadly bacteria being alive and again aggressive.
The Anthrax is a serious infection which is grounded on the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and it could be in three types: skin, inhalation and intestinal. Depending on which form is, the symptoms are different but they include fever, chest pain and shortness of breath if we talk about inhalation form. If it is about skin, then there is painless ulcer with a black center. The intestinal form will include vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal problems. The last one comes with fever and the abscess. The most important part about this is to know that Anthrax is spread by contact with the spores of the bacteria. Contact could be made via breathing, eating or through the broken skin. Spores are able to survive in all conditions, for centuries and it doesn’t surprise that they can be alive after many, many years, especially on the grave sites of died and buried animals or even people.
The mentioned Siberian story is something we have expected to deal with since the climate problems cause the medical worries and infectious challenges for the global village. When we add to this the local traditional Nenets custom to not place their dead deep into ground but in a wooden box , on an open hill, it is not surprising why many biological agents professionals blame the local ancient cemetery for easily expose of the dead bodies, after the melting weather has attacked the tundra. It is stated that more than 2,350 reindeer have already died but fast response from veterinarians and Russian Army’s biological warfare troops made happen that 4,500 of animals are vaccinated and the full plan is to increase number up to 41,000 so this lethal infection could be stopped in record time.
What is very controversial about this bacteria is an information that Anthrax is somewhere between natural made punching disease and biological weapon made by people. The Anthrax is very dangerous although it can be treated but on the biological weapons level, it is very deadly and dangerous. This biological agent has been used in World War I when Scandinavia deployed anthrax against the Russian Army. The British Army used this biological weapon against Germany in World War II. Not to mention the lot of bioterrorist incidents and especially those in Japan and the USA, committed by fanatical sects or radical terrorist groups. Beside this, the Anthrax is attractive to every country in hidden biological warfare dreams. The American and Russian War Industry have never given up really on researching this bacillus as a potential biological weapon as long as terrorists never stopped being interested in potential misuse of the microbe which has big impact on the health of people and animals. The capability for spores to be active after decades of being passive is enough scary scenarios.
We are welcoming the new face of the nature, its angry face. After so many scars we made to this Planet and all living creatures, we are coming to the breaking point. The following period of time will challenge our good or bad luck because the monster is awakened. The Siberian ghost of past is just the beginning.
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Sandra Maksimovic-Sara, has an MA in Biological Counter Terrorism Studies, with special interests of researching and writing about Biological Weapons, Biosecurity and Biodefense. Sandra hails from Serbia